Sociology of the Family and Children


Sociology of the family examines the family as an institution and a unit of socialization through various sociological perspectives.

Family Sociology


Barkan, Steven E. Sociological Perspectives on the Family
Explains the family fron a functional, conflict and interactionist sociological perspective.



Focus on the Family 
Information on all family-related topics from a Christian point of view. That’s were you’ll find instructions to shape a child’s will (‘guide them toward godliness’) and a sermon outline on ‘the sin of homosexuality' and ‘the dangers of a homosexual lifestyle’.


Graaf, Paul M. de / Kalmijn, Matthijs

  • [2003] Intelligentie, opleiding en echtscheiding in Nederland (Intelligence, education and divorce in the Netherlands) 
    Some sociologists argues that data for the Netherlands offer support to Herrnstein and Murray’s hypothesis that more intelligent persons have a lower divorce risk than less intelligent people. The replication of the data analyzed by Dronkers presented in this article shows that Dronkers’ conclusion is based on an incorrectly specified model in which educational attainment is not included. In a model that includes educational attainment the effect of intelligence is insignificant and educational attainment has a negative effect on divorce. This negative effect is conflicting with results from more representative data on the Netherlands.
  • [2007] Divorce motives in a period of rising divorce: evidence from a Dutch life history survey
    Using survey data on ever-divorced men and women in The Netherlands, De Graaf and Kalmijn describe the motives people give for their divorce. They distinguish motives regarding four types of issues: (a) relational issues, (b) behavioral problems (e.g., substance abuse, violence), (c) problems about work and the division of labor, and (d) problems with friends or relatives. Their findings illustrate three important trends: the normalization of divorce, the psychologization of relationships, and the emancipation of women. Severe divorce motives (such as violence and infidelity) have become less important across divorce cohorts. The interpretation of this finding is in terms of a thresholdhypothesis: when the threshold for divorce is higher, marriages that end in divorce will be more problematic. Further, they find that there has been a trend in the direction of more relational motives, particularly among women. This trend is interpreted in terms of more general cultural trends in society such as a more individualistic and psychological approach to relationships. Another interesting finding is that problems in the realm of work and household labor have become more important motives for a divorce, particularly among women. This is consistent with the dramatic increase of emancipatory attitudes in the last decades, combined with a much slower change in the actual behavior of married couples.



Kalmijn, Matthijs / Graaf, Paul M. de / Janssen, Jacques P.G.

  • [2005] Intermarriage and the risk of divorce in the Netherlands: The effets of differences in religion and in nationality, 1974-94
    In: Population Studies, 59(1), 2005, pp. 71-85.
    A textbook hypothesis about divorce is that heterogamous marriages are more likely to end in divorce than homogamous marriages. An analysis of the vital statistics on the population of the Netherlands provide a unique and powerful opportunity to test this hypothesis. All marriages formed between 1974 and 1984 (nearly 1 million marriages) are traced in the divorce records and multivariate logistic regression models are used to analyse the effects on divorce of heterogamy in religion and national origin. This confirms the hypothesis for marriages that cross the Protestant-Catholic or the Jewish-Gentile boundary. Heterogamy effects are weaker for marriages involving Protestants or unaffiliated persons. Marriages between Dutch and other nationalities have a higher risk of divorce, the more so the greater the cultural differences between the two groups. Overall, the evidence supports the view that, in the Netherlands, new group boundaries are more difficult to cross than old group boundaries.


Lasch, Christopher 
[1966] Divorce and the Family in America
In: The Atlantic Monthly, November 1966.
A social critic argues that divorce poses no threat to the institution of marriage.


  • Schwimmer, Brian - University of Manitoba, USA
    Kinship and Social Organization
    A tutorial about kin fundamentals, systems of descent, kinship terminology, marriage systems and residence rules.
  • Sociology of the Family
    A guide to family relations as assumed most basic and fundamental building block for any society, and families as the key shock-absorbers of social change. Editor: Michael Kearl, Trinity University (Clearinghouse Guide)


Children - Youth

  • Centre for Europe’s Children (CEC)
    The Documentation and Information centre for the European Strategy for Children. The Council of Europe, in co-operation with UNICEF, intends to promote the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is intended to “serve as inspiration and guidance for senior policy-makers and all those who actively support children's causes in their respective activities.”
  • Child Abuse & Neglect - Child Welfare Information Gateway
    An American resource for professionals seeking information on the prevention, identification, and treatment of child abuse and neglect. It offers resources on child abuse and neglect, including definitions, identification of signs and symptoms, statistics and data, risk and protective factors, perpetrators, the impact on individuals and society, and fatalities.
  • Child Abuse and Neglect Statistics - Child Welfare Information Gateway
    Info on child abuse and neglect in the USA. Includes a page in which the Social and Economic Consequences of Child Abuse & Neglect are calculated.
  • Child & Family WebGuide
    A guide to sites on the internet with research-based information on children, child-rearing, parenting, and family issues. From: Tufts University.
  • Child Labor in America 1908-1912
    A sobering portfolio of mill-workers, newspaper vendors, coal miners, seamstresses, and fruit-pickers, all of whom are far too young. This fascinating online exhibit features original photo captions by Lewis W. Hine. Presented by the History Place.
  • Children & Youth in History
    A world history resource designed to help teachers and students learn about the important roles of young people throughout history by providing access to information about the lived experiences of children and youth from multiple perspectives as well as changing notions about childhood and adolescence in past cultures and civilizations. The portal is developed by the Center for History and New Media CHNM).
  • Children of the Night
    Helping children who have been forced into prostitution or pornography.
  • Children’s television viewing research
    Informs about Australian research projects relating to children and television. Presented by Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). More information in presented in the Research index.
  • Child Rights
    Information on the progress towards universal acceptance of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the violations of this convention: child labour and the ultimate abuse: child prostitution. This report is part of the The Progress of Nations, published annually by the United Nations Children’s Fund.
  • Child Rights Information Network (CRIN)
    A global network of children’s rights organisations seeking to support the effective exchange of information about children and their rights. CRIN is open to individuals, non-governmental organisations, UN agencies and educational institutions who are involved in children’s rights, committed to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and to sharing information with others. The main aims are: support and promote the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; help to meet the information needs of organisations and individuals working with and for children’s rights; support organisations to gather, handle, produce and disseminate child rights information through training, capacity building and the development of electronic and non-electronic networking tools.
  • Child Trends Databank 
    An online information resource featuring the most up-to-date data and research on over 70 indicators of child and youth well-being, with new indicators added each month. Child Trends is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research firm.
  • Children, Youth and Family Consortium (CYFC) - University of Minnesota, USA
    A pathway to information related to the health, education and welfare of children, youth and families. With theme areas like: fathers, adoption, young children, adolescents, parenting.
  • Children of the Titanic: Their story - Their words - Adams Memorial Library
    In 1912 the Titanic, the largest ocean liner in the world, collided with an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sank with the loss of over two-thirds of the people on board. One of the phrases that comes to mind in connection with the sinking of the Titanic is “Women and children first”. In the imagination of many people men gallantly refrained from entering the limited number of lifeboats in order to allow women and children to escape. Nontheless, one had a better chance of surviving the sinking as a first-class man than as a third-class child. There were 105 children on the Titanic’s maiden voyage. But there is surprisingly little information from the surviving of children of the Titanic, in proportion to the evidence available as a whole. 
    See also: Wikipedia: Sinking_of_the_RMS_Titanic.
  • Council of Europe Youth Department 
    The Youth Department is part of the Directorate of Democratic Citizenship and Participation of the Council of Europe. The youth programmes of the Council of Europe are integral part of initiatives aimed at the development of a common European cultural identity.
  • DMOZChild Abuse
  • Eurochild 
    A network of organisations working with and for children throughout Europe, striving for a society that respects the rights of children. Eurochild advocates for children’s rights and well-being to be at the heart of policymaking. It influences policies, builds internal capacities, facilitates mutual learning and exchanges practice and research. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is the foundation of all their work.
  • European Youth Forum (YFJ)
    The platform of the national youth councils and international non-governmental youth organisations in Europe. It seeks to defend and promote the rights and interests of all young people and their organizations. It provides information on EU policy and legislation affecting young people and acts as a contact point for reaching young people in youth organizations throughout the world. 
    See also: The listing of the 99 Member Organisations and for general informatie: Wikipedia: European_Youth_Forum.
  • European Youth Trend Report
    Insights in youth trends, their influence on markets and industries. Illustrated with best practices and portraits of some of the most influential youngsters. It offers a glimpse in today’s and tomorrow’s future.
  • Experiland
    Science projects and science experiments for kid’s grades 1 to 8 that is safe and fun to do. Various e-books range containing full step by step instructions.
  • Grill, Christo Deneumostier - Cusco, Peru
    [2000] Street Children of Cusco
    Cusco is a city where you can sense the great legacy that the Inkas left to the Peruvians. The dark side of this city is formed by its street children. In the last years many children shelters has been opened by national and foreign NGO's. The peruvian photojournalist Christo Deneumostier Grill visited one of the institutions that faces the cruel reality of these street children and tries to help them by giving them a shelter. In his article and pictures he portrays the life of the street children in Cusco, and of the work of the association Huch'uy Rana that tries to offer them a place to sleep at nights and educational chances.
  • International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) - ILO 
    IPEC’s aim is the elimination of child labour by strenghtening national capacities to address child labour problems, and by creating a worldwide movement to combat it.
    • Child Labour: Targeting the intolerable
      A report for the 86th Session International Labour Conference, 1998.
    • What is child labour? 
      Child labour is work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development. But not all work done by children should be classified as child labour that is to be targeted for elimination. Children’s or adolescents’ participation in work that does not affect their health and personal development or interfere with their schooling, is generally regarded as being something positive. This includes activities such as helping their parents around the home, assisting in a family business or earning pocket money outside school hours and during school holidays.
    • Worst forms of child labour
      Whilst child labour takes many different forms, a priority is to eliminate without delay the worst forms of child labour as defined by Article 3 of ILO Convention No. 182:
    • Governing Body Documents on Child Labour
      Major policy documents, prepared for the Committee on Employment and Social Policy of the ILO's Governing Body. They describes the problems of child labour in the world today; possible action at the country level; and ILO action against child labour now and in the future.
    • Child labour statistics
      Numbers on the extent, characteristics and determinants of child labour. They are provided by the Statistical Information and Monitoring Programme on Child Labour (SIMPOC), which is the statistical arm of IPEC. SIMPOC assists countries in the collection, documentation, processing and analysis of child labour relevant data.
  • Jeugdwerker België
    A Belgian association of youth workers.
  • Jeugdwerknet Nederland
    Youth worknet in the Netherlands collects links to Dutch youthwork-organizations with a web-presence and wants to stimulate contacts & communication among youthworkers in the Netherlands and elsewhere with the Youthwork Mailing List. A great site with much information on youthcentres and youth organizations, youth information points and community-houses. Dutch & English version.
  • jeugdzorg.pagina.nl
    Dutch links on youth welfare work.
  • Kidlink
    Global networking for youth through the age of 15. In many languages.
  • Kids Can Free The Children (FTK)
    An international youth movement that tries to establish programs and activities that will reduce the poverty and exploitation of children throughout the world, especially those in bonded, hazardous and exploitative child labour.
  • Learning & Teaching Developmental Psychology
    Study psychological research and theory about children’s social and cognitive development with resources like lesson plans, classroom activities, and web links. Presented by: K. H. Grobman.
  • Preventing HIV / AIDS: Interventions for Adolescents
    A guide to selected resources. From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC National AIDS Clearinghouse.
  • UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund 
    State of the World’s Children reports UNICEF aims to fulfil three purposes. (1) It proposes an agenda against war as a vital step to prevent and alleviate the suffering of children in armed conflict. (2) It reviews the efforts of UNICEF to cope with children submerged not only in conflict but also in the silent emergencies of poverty and preventable disease. And it shows how many governments and communities, with UNICEF support, have made great progress in improving the health, nutrition and education of their children. (3) It retains the annual presentation of carefully assembled statistical data, so that the progress towards the year 2000 goals (adopted at the 1990 World Summit for Children), can be readily assessed. And remember “that the welfare of today’s children is inseparably linked with the peace of tomorrow’s world” [Henry R. Labouisse]. 
    Here is the list of progress reports:
  • US Department of Labor (DOL)
    By the Sweat & Toil of Children: Efforts to Eliminate Child Labor 
    The fifth volume in a series of annual reports on child labor. This report was produced by the staff of the International Child Labor Program and published by the US Department of Labor (DOL). It examines child labor in sixteen developing nations around the world. The report provides an overview of the types of work performed by the estimated 250 million child workers in these countries and their labor conditions. You will also find a review of child labor laws and enforcement efforts, descriptions of education initiatives aimed at increasing primary school enrollment, and examples of efforts to address the exploitation of working children.
    In the same series: 1. The Use of Child Labor in American Imports | 2. Addressing the Worst Forms of Child Labor | 3. Efforts at the Country Level | 4. Consumer Labels and Child Labor | 6. An Economic Consideration of Child Labor
  • Wikipedia
  • Youth and Environment Europe (YEE)
    A platform of many European youth organisations that study nature or are active for environment protection.The aim of YEE is to encourage youth to be involved in environment protection and to provide a platform where these organisations can work together.
  • Youth Policy in the Netherlands
    Dutch policy and publications in the field of youth policy and the child care system. Includes many links to (youth)organizations. Maintained by the Netherland Youth Institute (NJI), the Dutch national institute for compiling, verifying and disseminating knowledge on children and youth matters, such as child abuse, youth work, youth care and parenting support in Holland. Its main aim is to improve the development of children and young people by strengthening the quality and effectiveness of the services rendered to them and to their parents.

Research institutes


  • Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) 
    The Australian Government’s key research body in the area of family wellbeing. AIFS conducts original research to increase understanding of Australian families and the issues that affect them.
  • Children and Families Research Centre (CFRC) - Macquarie University, Sydney
    Conducts high quality interdisciplinary research that contributes to knowledge about the learning and development of children and families with a commitment to applying research to policy recommendations and outreach activities in a variety of communities.
  • Youth Research Centre - School of Education at The University of Melbourne


  • Child & Family Research Institute (CFRI) - Vancouver, BC
    CFRI conducts discovery, translational and clinical research to benefit the health of children and their families.


  • Research Centre For Chinese Family Firm (RCF)
    The research center promotes research and development of Chinese Family Firms. With the combination of theoretical and applied research, the RCF will coordinate and consolidate research resources home and abroad to establish the comparative system analysis of family firms, to elaborate on the growth mechanism of Chinese family firms, and to give a clear guidance on the family firm’s managerial practice.


  • Child Research Net (CRN) 
    A non-profit interactive research center on the internet to study, analyze and discuss the problems that children face in today’s complex world. Its aim is to gather and exchange information regarding children and youth internationally, with a special focus on Japan and Asia.




  • Child and Family Research Center (CFRC) - National University of Ireland, Galway
    The Centre is involved in research, education and training in the area of children and families and is committed to better outcomes for disadvantaged children and youth through family support.


  • UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre (UCFRC) - National University of Ireland, Galway

New Zealand

  • Centre for Child and Family Research (CCFR) - University of Auckland
    A multi-disciplinary research centre which encourages and undertakes high quality research relating to national policy issues concerning children and families. It also encourages the dissemination of and public debate on research involving children and families.



  • Institute for family research and counseling (IFF) - University of Freiburg
    The Family Institute offers teaching classes, postgrade classe classes, counseling & single- or couple-therapy, organizes symposiums, workshops and promotes research in the field of family and couples.

United Kingdom

  • Centre for Child and Family Research (CCFR) - Loughborough University
    An independent research unit based in the School of Social, Political and Geographical Sciences at Loughborough University in the UK. CCFR has an international reputation for high quality, policy relevant research. The research has both national and international influence and provides the evidence base for the development of a wide range of policy initiatives to respond to diverse issues with an emphasis on those related to vulnerable children and their families.


  • Arlitt Child and Family Research & Education Center - University of Cincinnati
    The center serves preschool children from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Children from all funding sources are blended in each classroom in the center, which makes Arlitt one of the most diverse and inclusive preschools in the country. The Arlitt Center serves as an early childhood education practicum site for students from many programs at the University of Cincinnati, a research center for faculty and students, and an observation and teacher training resource center for the community.
  • Center for Family Research (CFR) - University of Cambridge
    A multidisciplinary research institute within the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge. The Centre has undertaken pioneering and influential research since the 1960s, and has an international reputation for its investigations of families and children. The interests cover children, parents and family relationships. The research deals with topics from pregnancy, through all the years of childhood, to partnerships and parenthood, and later life.
  • Center for Family Research (CFR) - University of Georgia
    The Center is dedicated to gathering high-quality information from rural African American families in Georgia. These families live in small towns and communities in which poverty rates are among the highest in the nation and unemployment rates are above the national average. They are working poor, and they are representative of many African Americans living in the southern rural coastal plain that stretches across South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Many African American families have important strengths that allow them to raise healthy, well-adjusted children and adolescents in environments that are economically and socially impoverished. One of the missions of CFR is to understand what enables these families to rear competent children in these challenging contexts.
  • Center for Research on Families (CRF) - University of Massachusetts at Amherst
    CRF is an interdisciplinary research center whose mission is to support research on issues of relevance to families.
  • Cherokee Family Research Center - Tahlequah, Oklahoma
  • Child and Family Research Center (CFRC) - University of Nevada, Reno
    The program provides early childhood care and education to children age 6 weeks to 6 years old.
  • Children and Family Research Center (CFRC) - University of Illiinois at Urbana-Champaign
    An independent research organization that supports research that is policy and practice relevant and encourages and facilitates public child welfare research activities through collaborative relationships.
  • Children, Young People and Family Research Centre - Newman University, Birmingham
    The centre tries to respond to rapid changes within research culture, at regional, national and international levels, by grounding it within the wide range of theoretical, policy and methodological perspectives made available across Newman University.
  • Family Research Center (FRC) - Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences, SMU
    FRC is committed to research that improves the lives of families living with violence. The research is intended to be a contribution to the research community while also helping policy makers and practitioners better understand behaviors of the children affected by such violence, the impact on the family unit, and how to reduce the harmful effects of children’s exposure to such violence.
  • Family Research Institute (FRI) - Colorado Springs
    A traditionally-mindeded research institute that generates empirical research on issues that threaten the traditional family, particularly homosexuality, AIDS, sexual social policy, and drug abuse. The FRI is part of a movement of organizations, often faith-based, which seek to influence the political debate in the United States. They seek “to restore a world where marriage is upheld and honored, where children are nurtured and protected, and where homosexuality is not taught and accepted, but instead is discouraged and rejected at every level.”
  • Family Research Laboratory (FRL) - University of New Hampshire
    FRL is devoted primarily to understanding family violence and the impact of violence in families. As public and professional interest in family violence has grown, so has the need for more reliable knowledge. The FRL has tried to fill that need in a variety of ways: through comprehensive literature reviews, new theories, and methodologically sound studies. Researchers at the FRL pioneered many of the techniques that have enabled social scientists to estimate directly the scope of family violence.
  • Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) - Harvard University
    The mission is to shape 21st-century learning opportunities so that all children and youth thrive. HFRP addresses issues of access and equity in learning, and advancing family and community engagement practices that reinforce success for all children. HFRP serves as a national platform for forward-thinking perspectives on family and community engagement research, practices, policies, and strategies.
  • International Association for Relationship Research (IARR)
    IARR seeks to stimulate and support the scientific study of personal relationships and encourage cooperation among social scientists worldwide.
  • Parenting and Family Research Center (PFRC) - University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
    Aims to increase our understanding of children, adolescents, and parents in the contexts of family, school, and community, and to draw on scientific evidence to inform public policy on issues affecting children, such as the prevention of child abuse and the promotion of success in school.
  • Research Consortium on Children and Families (RCCF) - University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
    A multidisciplinary USC endeavor drawing together faculty from behavioral/social sciences and closely related disciplines who conduct grant-funded research related to children/youth and their families.

Sociological Associations and their Sections

  • American Sociological Association - ASA
    • Section of the Sociology of the Family 
      The section encourages the development of sociological perspectives on families, brings together those who study and teach about families, and considers the implications of such analyses for public policy, politics and professional practice. The section seeks to foster understanding of family structures and practices, of differences between and within families and of those social institutions and forces — race, class, and gender; the economy, culture, social movements, the law, and demographic trends — that shape families or are shaped by them.
    • Section on Children and Youth
      The section encourages the development and dissemination of sociological perspectives on children in the areas of research, theory, policy, practice, and teaching. Here, the term children includes every human being from infancy through the transition to adulthood.
  • British Sociological Association - BSA
    • Families & Relationships Studies Group 
      A forum to bring together the diversity of studies of families, households and relationships of members working across academic disciplines. The group promotes dialogue between those who focus on sociology of families, intimacies and relationship and specialists in gender, sexuality and relationships research, taking in the broad range of possible substantive and theoretical concerns of contemporary sociology and forging new connections.
    • Youth Study Group 
      A forum for all those interested in researching young people. The group hopes to attract existing BSA members as well as to promote links with other disciplines and agencies involved in youth work and research.
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie - DGS
  • European Sociological Association - ESA
  • International Sociological Association - ISA
  • Japan Society of Family Sociology - JSFS
    An academic organization established in 1991 that promotes theoretical, empirical, and practical research concerning the family so as to contribute to the development of both individuals and society.

Journals and Magazines

  • International Journal of Children’s Rights (IJCR) 
    The articles reflect the perspectives of a broad range of disciplines and contribute to a greater understanding of children’s rights and their impact on the concept and development of childhood. The journal deploys the insights and methodologies of all relevant disciplines to further children’s rights in all parts of the world.
  • Journal of Adolescence
    Concentrates on issues of professional and academic importance. Provides a forum for all who are concerned with the nature of adolescence. The aim of the journal is to foster good practice and encourage research by publishing both empirical and clinical studies together with high quality reviews.
  • Journal of Family Issues (JFI) [abstracts]
    JFI is published 14 times per year, provides up-to-date research, theory, and analyses on marriage and family life. It examines professional issues, research developments, and practical applications from an interdisciplinary perspective,
  • Journal of Social and Personal Relationships [abstracts]
    An international, interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal that publishes the original research on social and personal relationships. It is published 8 times a year, is multidisciplinary in scope and draws material from the fields of social psychology, clinical psychology, communication, developmental psychology and sociology.
  • Ouders Online
    An electronic journal for young parents (in Dutch). It is concentrated at the role of fathers.
  • Personal Relationships
    An international, interdisciplinary journal that promotes scholarship in the field of personal relationships using a wide variety of methodologies and throughout a broad range of disciplines, including psychology, sociology, communication studies, anthropology, family studies, child development, social work, and gerontology. Published on behalf of International Association for Relationship Research (IARR).
  • Relationship Research News (RNN)

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